final exhibition

May 16, 2011

the Em[BODY]ment exhibition took place at AUCB Gallery space top floor. it opened on the 6th and run up till 13th May. the official opening Gala was held on the 12th May. there were invited many industry professionals, teachers and relatives who came to see the opening ceremony and it turned out a fantastic great night. there was a chance to see artists themselves and talk to them, ask questions or simply admire their talents. we were also entertained by a burlesque dance act, vocal performance and presentation/live set up from make up artist where she was turning man into a lizard.

the exhibition received very positive feedback from almost anyone i was talking to. apart from one fine art teacher who thought that space felt very crammed up with artworks, but he said that quality and concepts were great. other photography teacher said that this time students have surpassed anything that has been shown before and so far this looks like a best show in the gallery dated. i received good comments on my buddha installation, too. mainly about amount of work put into it, the technique and the idea. i am very glad the exhibition went on very well and my piece was part of it. here are some fotos i managed to take on the gala evening:

some other works which explores the theme of a body shown at this same exhibition::


for more information on other works and artist statements go to EmBODYment official website here


evaluation of my Professional project

May 5, 2011

download my evaluation:

.doc / word

.odt / open office

a bathtub and mirrors

May 5, 2011

my journey to get to the bath began in the classroom. i asked everyone if they know of possibilities to obtain a bathtub. Luke was very helpful and he advised me to look at the freecycle website. actually, it took him 10mins to find a bathtub and he gave me the telephone number of the lady who was desperate to get rid of her bath quick and painless. it was for free but i had to arrange a collection. a teacher from film store helped me out to pick it up and dropped at my house with a van. luckily it was a light iron bath and i was able to transport it into my room which became its temporary dwelling place, just next to my bed.

i started with cleaning and disinfecting the bath.

when bath was clean enough to sleep in i started my search for mirror pieces. i found a website on the internet which is selling a wide range of tiles including mirror ones. it is called a Mosaic Heaven. i ordered a bag of 100 pieces of cut mirror tiles for a test run :

i was happy with size and thickness and decided to order my first bag of 1000 pieces and start glueing in to the bath. i wanted to see at first how much it will cover and then work out the amount i will need to complete the whole bath.

one bag of 1000 pieces costs £27.66. together with VAT and postage the total came to £38.78. i thought it was bit pricey and cheaper way would be to buy a mirror myself and cut it but i wasn’t sure if that would be done as good as ones i ordered. i decided to keep on ordering and buying them as soon as i have money. when i completed the bag of 1000 pieces it didn’t cover big area so i ordered another 2000. i finished sticking them in mid april and i was awaiting for more money to come in and buy more. i estimated that i will need maybe 5000 more pieces which i managed to order at the end of april. unfortunately due financial difficulties and insufficient planning i am not meeting the deadline of my installation. at the moment i am half way done on bath while buddha is finished and completed. it is a shame because i failed in managing my finances as well as time but i think when pieces arrive i will be able to finish my work and ready to present it in full form. i am hoping to complete the bath till monday 9th may. here is the current state of my bathtub.(

and here is a 160w black light mercury bulb to brighten up my glowing buddha. it just needs a special fitting which is due to arrive soon.

i will post more photos from actual exhibition during next week.

working with resin//

May 5, 2011

resin is a very sticky and smelly substance when mixed with a catalist turns into a solid. there are many precautions to be followed when working in the resin room:
1) always wear a respirator mask, the fumes are very dangerous for lungs and will give nasty headaches
2) wear protective gloves and clothing
3) be very careful when mixing resin with catalist, a strict proportions should be followed. catalist is added to make resin go hard and during the setting process it will become hot. as more catalist will be added as faster it will set consequently rising in temperature, too. if there is too much catalist added it might lead to an explosion or fire due to high temperatures. i was always accompanied by a teacher who made a resin mix for me. i was too affraid and too incompetent to try it myself.

firstly i will explain a process how to work with resin.
1)i have to cover my paper mache with a cling film. then i have to spray or paint it over with a liquid wax. when resin starts to set it becomes very sticky and it will stick to anything. if there isn’t a protective layer underneath there will be no chance to separate newspaper from hardened shape. when resin is hardened it wont be stuck to the cling film because of the wax in between.

2) when my object is covered in cling film and sprayed with liquid i have to wait 10 – 15 mins for it to dry. then i can stretch over my crocheted material and start preparing resin
3) i have to weight amount of resin and then calculate the percentage of catalist. the proportion is usually 2%. if room temperature is low it will take longer for resin to set but if room is warm it will speed up the process. when resin is mixed i have around 15mins to use it up otherwise it will become harder to apply.

i started with head. here is completed head piece:

same process with rest of the body::

after few hours::

when body was finished i finally mounted head and covered neck part with fresh resin to connect both parts together.

my buddha was completed. next step was to paint it with uv paint and start working on a bath.

making of buddha

May 5, 2011

my plan was set:

1) make a full body of buddha in paper mache, head separately
2) crochet a head and a body – two separate pieces
3) stretch crochet over paper mache and cover with resin
4) dry and take out paper to leave the hardened shape hollow

working with magazines and shaping them into something resembling a figure of “god”

(it might look like a character from film “saw” and turning it into buddha is a real challenge, believe me!)

my main issue was in disbelief that newspapers will hold together. i never done anything similar before and i basically just went mental with newspapers. i was making big loose paper balls and connected them with some tape. i knew that i have to keep it as loose as possible in order to get it out from hardened shape easily, especially with head. it wasn’t perfect shape at all but i thought it will do.

next stage – crocheting and fitting
i started with head first because that was the most difficult part. i didn’t have any  sketch or anything, i was crocheting in freestyle and shaping the head on the go. i had to try it on all the time in order to get the perfect shape and here is the reflection of this process:

head was done. i had to get rid of the neck and crochet it separately because i couldn’t get it off the head. next stage was to crochet rest of the body. i decided to crochet a big loose bag with a hole opening for head attachment. i wanted it to fall over the body as if a real cardigan and that meant lot of crocheting. if head took me few hours then body took few days to complete. here is the finished body in crochet::

my next stage was going into workshop and start working with resin.))

testing materials//

May 4, 2011

when i think of buddha the first thing what comes into my mind is LIGHT. i think this is a crucial element in representing something people regard holy. my next step was to investigate on materials which could possibly glow and bring in the element of light into my piece.
consequently my search was towards modern technologies that is El-wire. “Electroluminescent wire (often abbreviated to EL wire) is a thin copper wire coated in a phosphor which glows when an alternating current is applied to it. It can be used in a wide variety of applications- vehicle and/or structure decoration, safety and emergency lighting, toys, clothing etc – much as rope light or Christmas lights are often used. Unlike these types of strand lights, EL wire is not a series of points but produces a 360 degree unbroken line of visible light. Its thin diameter makes it flexible and ideal for use in a variety of applications such as clothing or costumes.” (excerpt taken from Wikipedia website)
that was excellent news and i even managed to get hold of some El-wire to do some test crocheting. here are some test results:

crocheting with el-wire wasn’t that difficult but i had a major concern about the amount of wire used in comparison to the size it produced. i did use up about 5 meters of wire and managed to make just a small mesh which led me to think that i will need lots of it to solve a buddha body in full size. my other concern was about bending it too much and if that will affect the flow of the current. to solve this issue i decided to ring up some people who worked for the company which sells this product. when i spoke to the advisor he told me that in project of such scale i will need lot of el-wire and the longest continuous thread one unit of batteries can power will be 40 m. i was looking at total of 200 -300m of el-wire which would have costed me around £2000. he was also suspicious about excessive bending and in places where they overlap each other there might be possibility of overheating. in total this project seemed too expensive and risky and because i didn’t have a massive financial back up it seemed very unrealistic.
i did some research online and i found amazing installation with el-wire:

to find more about this project click here. it looks stunning and is heavy budgeted project but at least it gave me the idea of a scale and effect el wire can produce if it is affordable.

in order to economise on amount of el-wire i could have opted for different approach and use a sort of the mesh underneath and wrap the glowing wire all around it. but that would result abandoning a crochet tecqnique which i wasnt too keen on. i wanted the statue to glow as well as make it in crochet technique so i decided to look for more options and keep the crochet as a main medium of making this piece.

in further researches i found another interesting installation which provided the efect i was looking for as well was executed in crafty style namely knitting technique:

in this piece two important aspects are combined – glow+craft. this is exactly what i am aiming at. i really loved the idea and i think creators have made absolutely breathtaking concept but because it is so original and specific i advisedly tried to avoid copying it. i had to come with my own original idea for my project so i kept on thinking and talking to some teachers from model making faculty.
one of the teachers gave me a stunning idea of using a glow in the dark paint and then think of some ways of creating a buddha statue and then paint it over. same as in last installation where glowing fluid is in liquid form, there are lots of products in market such as uv paints which can be applied on hard surfaces and when dried will emit the light under ultraviolet light. my main issue was now to think which material and how i can use to make the body.
main sapects are:
1) material which can be hardened or is hard enough to hold the shape
2) friendly to be covered with paint

first i was looking in different sort of threads and i went to b&q to investigate. i thought i might buy some thin electric wire and crochet using that and then paint it over. it would hold the shape good but when i tried to bed it they weren’t that flexible. i end up buying some sort of gardening rope which is made of hollow plastic tube, flexible enough but, again, it recquired huge amount to crochet and the shape wasnt that good and easy to control, here is a test shot:

i had to think of something else. i had an idea if there would be a chance to use a simple cotton or acrylic thread and crochet buddha body and then somehow make it harden to keep the shape. i went to the model making faculty again and proposed such idea and they said that  it would be fairly possible if i would use a resin to harden the thread. immediately i was sent to the workshop and advised to seek help there. i found an amazing teacher who said that i will be able to use the facilities but it has to be sorted with the course leader first. apparently digital media is one of faculties which are not very popular in this workshop and because not many people use it we don’t pay any money towards the materials. most of the other courses do so they can go in and use the facilities any time. there wasn’t any issues with arranging the costs of the resin and when that was sorted i could start. in total it was estimated that i will need to use about 5 litres of resin. that costed around £30 pounds which was covered by digital media course.

i went to buy loads of threads.))

then i made few small test examples i wanted to test resin with:

when i brought these examples to the workshop my teacher said that this material might not soak up resin because it is synthetic. but we could always be sure only after testing it first. to both of our surprises it came out very well and it did soak up resin instantly. i also decided to use only white coloured thread because that would be easier to choose the main colour scheme without threat of original colour to shine through. here is the hardened shape of a small crocheted bag::

i was very pleased with outcome and absolutely amazed how resin maintained the true texture of the thread. even though it was plastic hard it remained very lifelike and delicate, as if nothing has been taken away, it was just superhard thread. here are some closeups to see the look of it::

i was ready to start with the main body. happy days!!!!

soft buddhas

May 2, 2011

for my project i have decided to create a buddha body in crochet technique.

this was my first creation. i had to decapitate one teddy in order to fit on this buddha like head and see if i can pull off crochet a head of a god. in this one ears and shape of the head was distinctive characteristics and i was very pleased with it.
i started to do online research to find how many people has actually tried to crochet buddha body and how do they look like, i found different size variations and not so many in total, maybe just few examples. not even a single one was in a size i was hoping for. with small size crochet buddhas one can work on more detailed body but with large size buddha i was risking it to look like a huggable teddy. so here are my findings::

last buddha is the most distinct one and has been made the most resembling from all above. the pattern is very tight and the body has been stuffed maintaining excellent curves. if i would go for bigger size i will need to consider the main elements and type of pattern used for it. as well as i want to look into different sort of materials and how they might or might not contribute to the main crafted figure.
i was happy that i didn’t find many buddhas executed in crochet technique, mainly because i wouldn’t like to have any sort of influences nor end up with similar looks. not many people have done it because buddhas usually are craved in stone or wood and must be made of rigid material for longevity while facing outside conditions. other buddhas which stay indoors are usually made out of wood or clay and are covered with rich paint layer or even gold. soft buddha made out of thread isn’t what prayers would look for as well as technique is not that popular in places where buddha cult exists. traditional choice of materials is also needed to maintain congeneric representation of deity and anything quirky and unusual might jeopardise the strength and seriousness of the belief. thats why i cant see lot of experimentations with buddha body in different materials. surely there is a tourism and entertainment industry which will solve buddhas figurines in many different materials, even in plastic as long as it brigs in the profit. the way i approach this project is to recreate buddha figure and maintain the aspect of spirituality and holiness and try not to reduce it to some funky hippie style lamp shade. my aim is to create something beautiful with hope to provoke thoughtful moments when looked upon.

the reason why i want to use a crochet is that i am very familiar with this medium and confident if i have to set the timeframe of completing it. i can work fast and practically straight out of my head, i don’t need any preparations except from getting enough materials for this task. i was also sympathising the idea of something being hand made. i own a big respect to traditional crafts and people who still possess such skills. by choosing this medium i want to highlight the awareness of tradition and skills people used more some time ago. i cant say that crochet is dying out, on the contrary, it has spread itself across many fields and is regaining its status as being fully acknowledged piece of art. my initiative was to create something unusual and use crochet to dictate the style and add something extra to the shape, like a pattern and a texture.